Indoor Safety Tips*

Appliances
  • Any appliance that repeatedly blows a fuse, trips a circuit breaker or gives you an electrical shock needs to be unplugged and repaired or replaced. Inspect the device for damage in the wiring, plug and connectors.
Portable Heaters
  • Clean electric in-wall fan heaters at least twice per year.
  • Keep furniture, draperies, clothing and any other items at least three feet from in-wall fan heaters and portable heaters, and 12 inches from baseboard heaters.
  • If you are using or installing a new heater, follow all manufacturer's instructions.
  • Keep on top of product recalls for portable heaters. A good source for this information is the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
Lighting
  • Be sure that nightlights and lamps have a safety certification mark.
  • Halogen lamps operate at high temperatures, so be sure they do not come into contact with flammable materials, such as draperies or clothing.
  • Use the proper wattage bulb for your lighting fixtures.
  • Do not allow children to operate lamps or nightlights. Use extreme caution with nightlights, as twisting them can cause components to break off and create a potential electrical hazard.

Holidays
  • Before you decorate, follow manufacturers' instructions for installing and maintaining all electrical decorations.
  • Use lights and decorations certified by a recognized independent testing laboratory, such as CSA, UL or ETL.
  • Inspect each decoration for damage, including cracked, frayed, loose or bare wires. These scenarios can create a fire, so replace damaged items.
  • Do not mount light strands or extension cords in a way that can damage the cord's insulation, for example, do not nail or staple them.
  • Do not overload extension cords.
  • Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become electrically charged from faulty lights and cause electrocution
  • Do not allow children or pets to play with electrical decorations.

Electrical Cords
  • Calculate the size you need for an extension cord. To determine if your cord is properly rated for your needs, add the total wattage of each bulb or electrical device, then divide by 120 to find the total number of amps. If the total number of amps is equal or greater than the maximum rating of the cord, then you need a higher rated extension cord.
  • Larger appliances and power tools need cords with three prongs or conductors, one of which is a ground wire.
  • Never run extension cords through walls under rugs or furniture, or across doorways.
  • Replace damaged extension cords, do not try to repair them.
  • Never overload an extension cord. If any part of the cord feels warm to the touch, it could present a fire or shock hazard.
  • Do not cut off the ground pin from a three-prong extension cord.
  • Always plug an appliance or tool into the extension cord before plugging the extension cord into the wall. And be sure the appliance or tool is "off" before you plug the cord into the wall.

Electric Blankets
  • Be sure your electric blanket is not damaged, and certified by an independent testing lab, such as UL, CSA or ETL. Power cords should not be frayed or cracked.
  • Don't tuck electric blankets into mattresses or under children, and don't put comforters or bedspreads on top of the blanket while it is in use.
  • Never allow pets to sleep on electric blankets.

Water & Electricity
  • Do not use electrical appliances that have been wet. Water can damage the motors in electrical appliances (furnaces, refrigerators, washers, dryers, etc). Electrical parts can become grounded and pose an electrical shock or fire hazard. Some appliances can be repaired by a qualified service technicians, and others will need to be replaced.
  • Do not allow power cord connections to become wet
  • Submerged outlets or electrical cords may be energizing water, so use caution.

Indoor Storm Safety
  • Stay indoors during storms, especially when lightning is present
  • Stay away from windows and doors.
  • Do not use corded telephones except for emergencies.
  • Unplug electronic equipment before the storm arrives and avoid contact with electrical equipment or cords during the storm.
  • Avoid contact with plumbing, including sinks, tubs and faucets.

Test Before You Touch
  • Use ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) to prevent electrocution.
  • Understand your electrical system, and know which fuse or circuit breaker controls each switch, light and outlet.
  • Be sure circuits are turned off before starting work, and take measures to be sure they are not turned back on while working.
  • Use a circuit tester. Be sure it is working by testing it before and after you use it to test the circuit.
  • Always "Test Before You Touch."

Home Electrical Safety Check
It is a good idea to check the safety of the electricity in your home at least once per year. Follow the guidelines established by the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) and get started to making your home as safe as it can be! Or...take Southern's Home Safety Test and see if your electrical safety at home passes the test!

Information Source: Electrical Safety Foundation International